Posts Tagged ‘Corbie Psalter’

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Scribe as Draftsman

Zoomorphic Initial Initial P

Above: Zoomorphic Initial (detail) and Initial P (detail), From the Corbie Psalter, Corbie, France, early 9th century. Bibliothèques d’Amiens Métropole, MS 18C

One point I have stressed in both the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue is the intimate relationship that existed in the Middle Ages between drawing and the written word. Few works better illustrate this point than the Corbie Psalter, created around 800. This endlessly fascinating book contains both the Psalms and the Canticles (the songs in the Bible that are not Psalms). Its illustrations consist entirely of remarkably inventive initials for the first letter of the first word of each text. Read more »

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How Many Museum Employees Does It Take…

Turning the page (1) Turning the page (2) Initial M and Initial N

Above: Two photos during the installation of the exhibition show the process of opening pages; the new opening from the Corbie Psalter now on view in the galleries.

A few days ago we turned the pages in three of the manuscripts on view so that we can show different “openings,” or double-page spreads. If you have a chance to visit the exhibition again, you’ll notice a new set of images for the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, the Prato Haggadah, and the Corbie Psalter. The new opening from the little book of hours for Jeanne d’Evreux includes an image of the Miracle of the Breviary, in which a dove wondrously returns to an imprisoned Saint Louis a prayer book that had been lost in battle. In the Prato Haggadah, we are now showing the pages for the “Dayyeinu” portion of the Passover seder, in which the words of the refrain are set within a Gothic tower. I admit that my favorite new opening is the one that shows the initial M and the initial N from the Corbie Psalter (See a more detailed image of the initial N.) The M of the word Magnificat—formed by the bodies of Elizabeth and Mary—is one of the most inventive depictions of the Visitation I know. Read more »